Literally, My Master, equivalent to the pure Hebrew, Adoni. As a significant word in the advanced Degrees, it has been translated a most Excellent Master, and its usage by the later Jews will justify that interpretation. Buxtorf (Talt mudic Lexicon) tells us that about the time of Christ this title arose in the School of Hillel, and was given to only seven of their wise men who were preeminent for their learning.
Jahn (Biblical Archeology, page 106) says that Gamaliel, the preceptor of Saint Paul, was one of these. They styled themselves the children of wisdom, which is an expression very nearly corresponding to the Greek. The word occurs once, as applied to Christ, in the New Testament (John xx, 16), "Jesus said unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master." The Masonie myth in the Most Excellent Master's Degree, that it was the title addressed by the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon on beholding the magnificence and splendor of the Temple, lacks the element of plausibility, inasmuch as the word was not in use in the time of Solomon.
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